A farmer tends to a wheat farm in the El-Dakahlia governorate, north of Cairo, Egypt, February 16, 2016 (Reuters)
Egypt purchased Saturday an additional 300,000 tons of imported wheat in a public tender on a free-on-board basis with a separate freight offer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) said on its website.
The state grain buyer GASC said the cargos are expected to be shipped from 21 to 30 August, giving a breakdown of the second imported wheat deal in 2016 as follows:
— 120,000 tons of Romanian wheat from Amerroba at $174.33 per ton.
— 60,000 tons of Romanian wheat from Cerialcom at $174.99 per ton.
— 60,000 tons of Russian wheat from Aston at $175.05 per ton.
— 60,000 tons of Russian wheat from Louis Dreyfus at $176.25 per ton.
Last week, GASC announced the purchase of 180,000 tons of Ukrainian and Russian wheat with an average price of $173.03 per ton.
The wheat tender comes after the Egyptian government decided to allow up to 0.05 percent ergot, a common grains fungus, in imported wheat shipments.
International firms will check the purchased wheat in ports prior to shipment to Egypt, to ensure adherence to international standards, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported, citing GASC vice chairman Ahmed Youssef.
Youssef said that a technical committee, comprised of a number of Egyptian ministries, excluding the Ministry of Supply to ensure impartiality, will also check the wheat upon arrival to Egyptian ports.
Egypt has enough strategic reserves of the commodity to last until mid-January 2017, Minister of Supply Khaled Hanafi said last month.
Egypt has procured five million tons of domestic wheat, around 25 percent more than the targeted amount for this year.
On Thursday, Egypt's general prosecutor ordered the detention of silo owners involved in local wheat procurement corruption, as well as members of the governmental committee tasked with receiving the wheat.
According to a statement from his office, top prosecutor Nabil Sadek also imposed a travel ban on the defendants who face charges of "seizing public funds, forging official documents, and undermining the Egyptian economy and the national security of the country."
The statement by the general prosecutor's office referred to investigations conducted by the public funds prosecutor that revealed that local wheat procured by the government in documents was never delivered.